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Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?

Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?
Vaccination in a foreign country can be proven with an official certificate. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP
Say you had your coronavirus shots in another country. How can you show this - and will it be accepted in Switzerland?

Covid vaccination campaigns that take place around the world raise new questions, and sometimes correct responses are not easy to come by.

But in this case the answer is easy.

Just as the results of coronavirus tests (both PCR and antigen) taken abroad are accepted in Switzerland, so is evidence of a foreign vaccination.

However, there are two conditions that have to be met

First, the vaccine must be one that is authorised for use in the European Union and, therefore, in Switzerland.

So far, the  European Medicines Agency has approved vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac have not received European or Swiss approval to date.

The second caveat is that you have a proper vaccination certificate — that is, one that has your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered, as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

It should be issued by an official health authority in charge of vaccinations in a given country. Handwritten notes or other dubious documents will not count as proof.

Whatever doubts or uncertainties may still persist about this process should be clarified soon, because a number of countries are getting ready to launch — and accept — a digital vaccination pass / immunity card.

As it will be recognised internationally, this document, which will also be issued to people who developed resistance to the virus after contracting and recovering from Covid infection, can be used as proof of vaccination and immunity.

Switzerland is expected to launch this card by the end of June.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Everything you need to know about the ‘green pass’, Switzerland’s coronavirus immunity card

A related question is how to prove you have been vaccinated if you are travelling abroad?

If you got your two shots in Switzerland, you will be given a signed vaccination certificate, which specifies, among other things, which vaccine was administered — the trade name, manufacturer, and batch number.

You will receive this document directly from the vaccination centre, as well as by email and SMS.

What if you have to show that you developed immunity through illness?

Whether you were hospitalised or recovered from Covid at home, the hospital or your canton’s public health officials (and sometimes your doctor) have a record of your illness.

You can request that they issue an official letter certifying that you had been infected with the virus.

The letter should include the date when you were diagnosed and when your recovery was complete.

You can also ask your doctor for an antibody test, which involves drawing your blood to see whether infection took place.

Apart from some companies that provide this test for their employees free of charge, you will have to pay between 60 and 100 francs (again, depending on your canton of residence) to have this done.

If the official laboratory results show that you have antibodies to the coronavirus, then this can be used as proof of your immunity.

READ MORE: How do you prove you’ve recovered from Covid in Switzerland?


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